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Georgia’s influence peddlers in Washington

Wayne Madsen / Online Journal | September 2, 2008

A little-known Georgia lobbying network in Washington, DC, is working together with faux progressive guru George Soros and John McCain foreign policy adviser/Georgia uber-lobbyist Randy Scheunemann to prop up Georgia as a NATO client state and engineer a renewed Cold War with Russia, with U.S. defense contractors poised to rake in even more obscene profits.

Randy Scheunemann is an unabashed neocon who has served as a director of the foreign election-meddling International Republican Institute (IRI), a distinction that puts McCain’s top foreign policy adviser on the same page and in the same camp as Barack Obama super-donor George Soros.

Scheunemann’s simultaneous work as the Executive Director for the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) that helped engineer the U.S. invasion of that country and Georgia resulted in a U.S. foreign policy nexus that resulted in 2000 Georgian troops being dispatched to Iraq as part of the so-called “Coalition of the Willing.” In fact, Scheunemann’s Orion Strategies lobbying firm, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and the discredited Iraq National Congress of con artist Ahmad Chalabi all shared the same Washington, DC, address of 918 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Scheunemann is an unabashed neocon who has served as a director of the foreign election-meddling International Republican Institute (IRI), a distinction that puts McCain’s top foreign policy adviser on the same page and in the same camp as Barack Obama super-donor George Soros. Scheunemann’s work for the U.S. Committee on NATO and its successor, the Committee for Transitional Democracies, has also put him in the Soros circle of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are attempting to stir up trouble for Russia in the periphery of the former Soviet Union.

In 2004, Scheunemann, a former aide to GOP Senators Bob Dole and Trent Lott, traveled with Bruce Jackson, a former deputy assistant to Clinton Czech-born Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, to the disputed Azerbaijan territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is claimed by Armenia. The confluence of Russia-haters like Albright, Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Albright’s former assistant Richard Holbrooke, retired General Wesley Clark (whose father was a Belarussian rabbi), Scheunemann, and other neocons who harbor resentments over what happened to their shtetl-, shtot-, dorf-, and ghetto-bound ancestors more than a hundred years ago at the hands of Czarist Russia adversely influence the foreign policy planks of both the Democratic and Republican parties today.

The Georgians, thanks to their neocon supporters in Washington, have managed to mirror the influence-peddling network of the more powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Congressional support for Georgia is manifested by the congressional Georgia Caucus, which has 15 members and is trying to invite Georgia’s Soros- and neocon-supported President Mikheil Saakashvili to testify before a congressional committee to make a pitch for $2.3 billion in U.S. aid for Georgia. The same caucus is pressing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2014 Winter Games from Sochi, Russia, which is close to Georgia, as punishment for Russia’s retaliatory operation against Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia.

The Hill newspaper reported that two Georgia Caucus members, Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Bill Shuster (R-PA), are planning to co-sponsor a House resolution calling for the 2014 Games to be moved from Russia as punishment. Other members of the Georgia Caucus are Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ron Kind (R-WI), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Robert Brady (D-PA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), David Price (D-NC), Michael McNulty (D-NY), and Luis Fortuno (R-PR).

The congressional initiative has garnered condemnations from the Russian government and the IOC for politicizing the Olympic Games.

The Georgians, in addition to their congressional caucus, influence American policy through the Georgian Association, billed as the “oldest organization in the U.S. representing the Georgian American community.” Although its president, Mamuka Tsereteli, is not a household name, its board of advisers consists of former U.S. diplomats, as well as well-known neocons. Arch neocon Richard Pipes of Harvard is a member, along with former U.S. ambassadors to Georgia Kent Brown, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz. Very shortly after the Russian operation in South Oseetia, a new web site appeared that shilled for the congressional lobbying activities of the Georgian Association and hyped the Georgian propaganda line: Invasion Into Georgia.org.

On April 30, 1994, President Clinton signed the Foreign Assistance Authorization Act, which established the Broadcasting Board of Governors to oversee all non-military U.S. foreign broadcasting services, including Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). The bill transferred control of RFE/RL to private hands and the stations, headquartered in Prague, are now billed as “private, international communications services to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.” Both stations were set up in the post-World War II years as private corporations that received funding primarily from the CIA and private donations. RFE/RL are still funded by Congress but in effect operated by Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI), first, until 1997, through the Open Media Research Institute (OMRI) based in Prague and then, quasi-independently through an interlocking network involving OSI, the neocon Freedom House, the Eurasia Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Orwellian-named U.S. Institute of Peace, and the CIA-connected U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

These organizations and agencies use an array of NGOs working in tandem with RFE/RL to direct propaganda against the Russian government.

RFE/RL was placed into the hands of Soros courtesy of the lobbying for passage of the Foreign Assistance Authorization Act by a K Street group called the Central and Eastern European Coalition (CEEC). Not surprisingly, the CEEC, comprised of 19 anti-Russian Central and Eastern European national organizations, such as the Georgian Association, the Estonian American National Council and the American Hungarian Foundation, is funded by Soros and formed with the help of Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Other key CEEC supporters are Obama’s other top foreign policy adviser, Anthony Lake, former National Security Adviser to Bill Clinton; Albright; and Brzezinski’s son Mark.

It is clear that Soros’ network is now turning up the heat on Russia. On October 27, a Soros-funded Belarussian front called “Malady Front” or “Young Front,” registered in Prague as a Belarussian opposition youth party and with close links to Soros-funded “Orange Revolution” organizations in Ukraine, called on the United States and European Union to answer Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence by immediately recognizing the independence of the Russian Federation’s autonomous republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia.

The Soros-funded group upped the ante by urging the West to extend recognition to other autonomous republics in the Russian Federation if recognition of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia is insufficient for Russia to withdraw from South Ossetia and Abkhazia: “If this is not enough to stop Russia’s aggression, the international community should consider recognizing the independence of other autonomous republics within the Russian Federation, such as Adygea, Altai, Buryatia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Karelia, Komi, Mari El, Mordovia, Sakha, North Ossetia, Tatarstan, Tuva, Udmurtia, Khakassia, and Chuvashia.”

Soros and his neocon allies are playing a dangerous game by threatening to support independence movements throughout the Russian Federation. The prospect of Soros-funded governments-in-exile of some 20 autonomous republics along or near the borders of China, Mongolia, Finland, and Azerbaijan threatens to unleash a major war between Russia and the West. And the word from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization currently taking place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, is that Russia is discussing with China and the Central Asian “stans” the “nuclear option,” not nuclear war but waging an economic war against the United States that will see Chinese and Russian support for the dollar and the underwriting of America’s debt halted with a resulting financial collapse of the United States. To add to the return of Cold War politics courtesy of the GOP neocons and Soros and his Democratic Party friends, we are told by a knowledgeable source that Navy Reserve officers in Washington, DC, are being told to be prepared to be called to active duty and make arrangements for their families to leave the Washington, DC, area.